• And more.
Today marks the anniversary of the birth of Agnes Smedley, an American journalist, writer, and activist born in 1892. Smedley was a passionate advocate for human rights and social justice, and her work continues to inspire us today.
Smedley’s legacy lives on in the many books, films, and articles that explore the power of storytelling and the importance of representation. From Gulchehra Hoja’s recounting of life under Chinese rule for the Uyghurs to Martin McDonagh’s polarizing British-Irish film The Banshees of Inisherin, to Reid Mitenbuler’s exploration of eccentric explorer Peter Freuchen, to Joseph Earl Thomas’s memoir about finding a safe reprieve from a traumatic childhood during a stay in the hospital, to Janet Malcolm’s posthumous memoir, to Vivian Gornick’s psychological thrillers featuring unapologetic female psychopaths, to Ron DeSantis’s long-ignored 2011 book, to Charlotte Vassell’s ranking of the top 10 cads in fiction, to William Davies’s examination of life in the reaction economy, to what Dickens and Prince can teach us about creativity—Smedley’s influence is everywhere.
Let us take today to celebrate the life and work of Agnes Smedley and all that she has done to shape our understanding of the world.